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China, Imports, and Integrity


For years I have been telling people that buying Chinese products at your local store is not a good thing. Yes, they’re generally cheaper, but they’re generally more poorly made, and the foodstuffs have been proven to be not just vastly inferior in nutrition and quality, but oftentimes purely dangerous.

Once again this week I received an email warning about the dangers of Chinese products being sold in America. Admittedly China is an agricultural and general production giant, but by buying Chinese goods, and in particular foodstuffs produced or packaged in that country, you are not doing yourself or your family any favors. One of the watchdog companies I have paid attention to is “Food and Water Watch,” based out of Washington, D.C. A while back they produced an overview regarding the dangers of using Chinese food imports. The following are some of the excerpts from an overview of their findings:

“Though supermarket labels may not always indicate it, a growing portion of the American diet is now made in China. In 2009, 70 percent of the apple juice, 43 percent of the processed mushrooms, 22 percent of the frozen spinach and 78 percent of the tilapia Americans ate came from China. (The figures are much higher today). Unfortunately, it’s not just China’s food that’s reaching American shores — it’s also China’s food safety problems.

U.S. Food Safety inspectors have been overwhelmed by the surging flood of imports from China since the country joined the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001. These international business deals allow trade to trump food safety and encourage U.S. agribusinesses and food manufacturers to source food ingredients in China where environmental, food safety and labor laws are weaker and regulatory oversight is lax.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has done little to address the growing tide of food imports from China, despite a well-documented pattern of chemical adulteration and unsafe drug residues. The FDA inspects less than 2 percent of imported food and barely visits Chinese food manufacturers.”

The recent email I received brought to light more situations:

Smithfield Farms, the largest pork-producing farm in the USA was sold in September to China with the unanimous support of its stockholders.  The hogs will still be raised here, but slaughtered and packaged for sale there before being sent back here.  This includes these labels: Morrell, Eckrich, Krakus, Cudahy, Premium Hams, Cook’s, and Gwaltney. The same is true with chickens under these labels.  They can now be shipped there, but when they come back all that needs to be on the label is that they were “Raised in USA.”  (Not that they were processed in China.)  That’s our FDA at work.  The chickens under these labels will all be processed and most sold to fast food restaurants, schools and supermarkets.  The China slaughter and processing requirements are, for the most part, unregulated, and far inferior to requirements of the U.S.A. One visit to a Chinese slaughterhouse or processing plant would probably ruin you for life on their products.

Starkist Tuna is now owned by Korea and is in conflict with the U. S. concerning quality, safety, and records keeping, which Korea refuses to produce. “Green Giant” frozen vegetables are from China, and so are most of “Europe’s Best.”

The article claims that many innocuous products like mushrooms, mandarin oranges, peaches and pears come from China now, but are sold under American company names – you must look closely at the labeling! The majority of frozen fish products, from “pacific salmon” to most of the tilapia are coming from China. Horror stories abound on the feeding to the processing of these fish. If you go to the internet and read some of them, you’ll become instantly more cautious. “Prepared by”, “packed by”, “imported by”, or “distributed by”, are methods used by companies to get around advertising the actual origin of the country producing the product. Read the label carefully!

I’d be recreant here if I didn’t mention pet food. If Chinese producers care so little about what they feed the American people, can you imagine what the pet food is like?

If the harlots who run our government and the FDA were as concerned about their constituents and their integrity as they are about their backroom kickbacks, we wouldn’t be buying anywhere near as many products that endanger our health and sacrifice our economy. But we all know how that works. It’s up to us to protect ourselves. If it says “Made in China” or “PRC” (which includes Hong Kong), put it back on the shelf. If we all adopted this mindset for just three months, China’s American trading losses would be significant enough to have them considering more integrity in their production methods.

The views and opinions expressed in this column do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the ownership and staff of The Polk County Pulse. Michael Reisig is a freelance writer and published author whose works are reproduced throughout the globe.

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